Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sankarea - 07

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Warning: Detour ahead.

Sankarea has always been a show that wielded its many personalities like a billy club, but never more literally than this week.  It transformed into a first-person narrated rumination by Wanko on the nature of the osananjimi relationship, with most of the episode spent in the distant past with the 6 year-old Wanko and 5 year-old Chihiro.  I question the wisdom of going in this direction with only one cour to play with, and enormous quantities of story still be to be told – unless something very surprising happens Wanko remains essentially a side character in this story.  Still, I knew this was coming based on last week’s preview and the episode was perfectly pleasant in its own right.

It’s interesting that Wanko herself should have mentioned cliché, because in terms of Sankarea she represents pretty much every cliché in the book.  The childhood friend, the violent tsundere, the sexpot, cousin romance…  In a very unconventional show she’s quite conventional, which has its pluses and minuses.  Her tendency towards random acts of physical abuse feels pretty played out, but at least this episode wasn’t composed mostly of close-ups of her boobs and butt, which seems to be where the camera is normally pointed about 90% of the time when she’s on-screen.  In addition to providing the full dose of tropism she seems to provide most of the RDA of fanservice, too.

What did we learn from this trip down memory lane?  Well, to be honest nothing much of consequence – it was more a question of adding some flesh to the bones of what we already knew than offering any new information.  Wanko’s interest in Chihiro was so transparent that even he was aware of it, but it’s officially confirmed in her own words.  Her family’s restaurant is Kyoto-ryori, and her parents moved their business from Chiba when she was six.  Her father is Chihiro’s uncle on his father’s side, which makes them first cousins (ick factor – moderate).  Chihiro was a zombie otaku even at four years old, Wanko was already scored of horror, and both of them were crybabies.  Nothing really surprising is revealed there – it all might not have been spelled out that way, but I don’t think most of our guesses would have been far off of that.

So what was the point of the excursion, then?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’m not a huge fan of episodes-long diversions that break up running storylines unless they fundamentally change the dynamic in some way, and this one doesn’t appear to have done that.  Its purpose seems to have been to flesh out Wanko’s character more but when we learn nothing we didn’t already suspect, it’s of questionable value, seems to me.  And to be honest, if we were going to take such a detour for such a purpose I’d rather it have been for Mero – who seems more interesting to me and has less fleshing out already.  About the only stealth attack I can see here is a possible connection to Chihiro’s mother – we don’t see her even in flashback, and Doon makes reference to her being absent taking Mero to the hospital during Ranko’s visit when she was four and still living in Chiba.  I suppose her family might have moved closer to help out Doon after his wife died – or there could be a connection to the “Sada” that Jogorou keeps talking about, but why wouldn’t Chihiro recognize his own mother’s name?  His Uncle acts a bit off, too, saying nothing above a grunt, but I don’t know that there’s anything significant to that.

If indeed there’s no smoking gun of the type described above, what we’re left with was a nice, fairly amusing look at Wanko and Chihiro as toddlers.  I did enjoy how incredibly goofy-looking he was as a kid, and the little touches like her “Spooky” Snoopy wallpaper.  Chihiro’s excitement at getting a “flucky” zombie flick (with terrible Engrish) from his dealer at the video store was pretty amusing as well, though I suspect there was some loose translation involved there.  And this ep absolutely confirmed with me that Yasutaka is a lead anchor that drags everything to a halt whenever he’s on screen – he’s like a character from another series entirely, and not a good one at that.  Please – no more.

[Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_06.07_[2012.05.18_12.56.01] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_07.49_[2012.05.18_12.57.44] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_08.09_[2012.05.18_12.58.04]
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[Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_12.34_[2012.05.18_13.02.28] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_13.09_[2012.05.18_13.03.04] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_13.36_[2012.05.18_13.03.31]
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[Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_18.26_[2012.05.18_13.08.21] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_19.24_[2012.05.18_13.09.18] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_20.28_[2012.05.18_13.10.23]
[Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_20.53_[2012.05.18_13.10.47] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_21.23_[2012.05.18_13.11.17] [Commie] Sankarea - 07 [5A95DBAF].mkv_snapshot_21.48_[2012.05.18_13.11.42]


9 comments:

  1. "...but at least this episode wasn’t composed mostly of close-ups of her boobs and butt..."

    Yep... And it'll go back to the usual for the next episode as evident in the preview. I don't think even the source manga is this bad on fixating the boobs and butt shots, but hey, the studio has to pay the bill!!!

    On that note, Sankarea's pacing has suddenly on tortoise pace and fillers are popping their ugly heads all around. Normal viewers may not mind this development, but for a fellow like me who has eagerly waited for Darin Arnschent Kurumiya (aka the foreign blonde girl) for weeks now, this only infuriates me to no end.

    I was hoping to see her introduced within 2-3 episodes, but now I'm 98% (2% left for rapidly disappearing hope) sure that she would never appear. Shame! Shame! There are only 5 episodes left and I am utterly convinced that the writers would milk the current arc and then some, with last episode being another filler. I've lost all hope in mankind...

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  2. This is a weird series when a well done, conventional back-story episode, that is enjoyable, ends up standing out like a sore thumb. And not for a lack of quality.

    On the issue of Mothers, I get the feeling we're going to end up at a point where Rea & Chihiro's mothers were either sisters or cousins. Either that or the Creator never did character designs for them, haha.

    It looks like we'll get a resolution of Rea's Father storyline to finish the series off with. If it does well, we might see a 2nd season. Hopefully, this series is pretty enjoyable.

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  3. My guess is that the pacing is rather slow because there are tentative plans to produce more seasons, pending on season 1 dvd/bd sales. Although this slow pacing doesn't really bother me too much, seeing as how the manga isn't too far along yet.

    Having read the manga, it's interesting to see the anime delve more into Ranko.

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  4. ^Producer!

    Filler episode huh. Dont remember this in the manga. But the author is in the staff, most probably he himself wrote the script in this episode.
    But it's pretty good. Was always on Wanko's side in the manga but it changed in the anime. Rea suddenly became much lovelier in the anime for some reason and I'm split. But I change to Wanko's again because of this episode. I'm gonna change my mind again in the next episode most likely. So confusing...Hard to make up my mind :/

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  5. Questionable episode choice for such a short anime but Wanko has a big fan base. A better filler episode than most though.

    Still pointless since the show is called Sankarea for a reason. Kinda like all the relationship changes in Suzuka.

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    Replies
    1. Thought I'd leave a joke here since the content is questionable:

      Wanko has all the wankers

      Delete
  6. I have read the manga and for me the pacing is absolutly no problem. Actually I like the Anime Version better than the Manga Version, which is rare.

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  7. This episode did nothing to make me feel sympathetic towards Ranko. Why do people (still) like her so much? She's pushy, annoying and can't take no for an answer. And she's an idiot for thinking she can get him if she just meddles in his affairs long enough.

    To some extent, her efforts to win Chihiro over are commendable, but at the same time, I can't help but wonder how, after almost 10 years, she still hasn't gotten the clue that he simply isn't interested in her, especially now that he's living his dream and has a zombie girl to swoon over.

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